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Central Plains Archeology


Volume 13, Number 1 (2011): 129 pages

Editor's Note
by Amy Koch

A few years ago, prompted by renewed research interest in the Lynch site (e.g. Buhta et al. 2006; Johnson 2007), I had the idea to eventually produce an issue of Central Plains Archeology (CPA) dedicated to this Initial Coalescent site in north-central Nebraska. The issue was to feature reprints of two University of Nebraska (UNL) Master's theses. The first, entitled The Lynch Site, 25BD1 was written by Mary Louise Freed in 1954. The second was Tom Witty's The Anoka Focus, completed in 1962. My intention was to make two older, albeit important works more readily accessible to students and professionals in the field. I was also inclined to include a tribute/memoriam to Mary Louise Freed, a Nebraska-born archeologist, who passed away in 2005 and who had spent much of her life on a farm in south-central Nebraska (an area quite familiar to me).
      This latest issue doesn't resemble what I had imagined, but it's been said that the journey is always more important than the end. . . . .

Mary Louise Freed Biography
by Donald Callen Freed

Mary Louise Freed, the only child of Robert Beyrer Callen and Viola Louise Johnson Callen, was born April 2, 1926, in McCook, Nebraska.
     Her childhood, which took place in the Great Depression, was not easy, especially for an only child. . . . .

New Insights into the Anoka Phase:Initial Results from Work at the Lynch (25BD1), Anoka (25BD2/201),
Hostert (25BD16), and Mohr (25BD139) Sites, Boyd County, Nebraska
by Joseph A Tiffany, Austin A. Buhta, L. Adrien Hannus, and Jason M. Kruse

In 2005, the Archeology Laboratory, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota conducted testing at four previously identified Anoka phase village sites along Ponca Creek in Boyd County, Nebraska. The sites are Lynch (25BD1), Anoka (25BD2/201), Hostert (25BD16), and Mohr (25BD139). The project involved determination of National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility for three of the sites (Lynch is already listed) and expansion of our understanding of the Anoka phase with regard to interrelationships between it and cultures of the Initial Coalescent, Middle Missouri, and Oneota traditions. This article reports on radiocarbon assays and analysis of the ceramic assemblages recovered from the Anoka, Hostert, Lynch, and Mohr sites. Ceramic cross-dating and the radiocarbon data position these Anoka phase sites between the latter half of the thirteenth century and the initial half of the fourteenth century and provide strong support for the NRHP eligibility of the Anoka, Hostert, and Mohr sites.

The Beaver Creek Trail Crossing Site (25SW49): The Archaeology of a Nineteenth Century Road Ranche along the Nebraska City Cut-Off Trail
by Paul A. Demers

The following summarizes the results of two field seasons of excavations at The Beaver Creek Trail Crossing Site (25SW49), in the southwestern corner of Seward County, Nebraska. The site was situated to ford Beaver Creek and serviced a variety of travelers who took the Nebraska City Cut-Off as a shortcut to rendezvous with the main Oregon and California Trails at Fort Kearny near present Kearney, Nebraska. The site was occupied from approximately 1862 until 1871, with sources mentioning a store, stable, saloon, and post office. Several large wagon ruts and swales are visible on both the eastern and western sides of the creek. This article discusses the research strategies, geophysical survey, and archaeological evidence for structural details and subsequent salvaging activities. The article also highlights Euro-American and Native American materials recovered at the site, and the importance of trail sites for understanding nineteenth century frontier dynamics and social space.

A Petrographic Analysis of Glenwood Locality Ceramics, Mills County, Iowa
by Richard L. Josephs

This article summarizes the first petrographic analysis of Glenwood Locality ceramics (ca. A.D. 1150 to 1300). The procedure identified and described the aplastics (temper and natural inclusions) and the micromass (the clay matrix/paste), using descriptive protocol originally developed for use by soil micromorphologists. Nine of the thirteen sherds are from grit-tempered vessels, three from shell-tempered vessels, and one from a sand-tempered vessel. The grit-temper grains are predominantly granitic in composition, evincing local tills, alluvium, and colluvium as their likely source. The high-order birefringence fabrics observed in most of the samples point to the region's carbonate-rich, loess-derived clays as a major component of the micromass. The composition of the aplastics and the micromass is consistent with raw material resources readily available in southwestern Iowa. The overall abundance and coarseness of the tempering agent is likely added to mitigate the high shrink-swell capacity inherent in the smectitic (montmorillonite) clays that are prevalent throughout the region. The size, amount, and composition of the temper grains are also common to vessels manufactured for utilitarian (culinary) purposes.

Archeological Investigations of the 1865 Rush Creek Battlefield, 25MO181, Morrill County, Nebraska
by Douglas D. Scott, Peter Bleed, Benjamin Bilgri

The Rush Creek Battle was an engagement between U.S. Volunteer Cavalry and warriors of a large Native American community composed of Cheyenne, Lakota, and Arapahoe. Historical accounts indicate that it took place on February 8-9, 1865 near the confluence of modern Cedar Creek and the North Platte River in Morrill County, Nebraska. The location of the combat was discovered in 2008 and inventoried in 2009 by the UNL Summer Field School in Archeology. Systematic metal detection of 390 acres recovered 141 ammunition components and 31 artillery fragments attributable to the battle. Firearms analysis identified 36 separate guns used at the battle. Two of these guns were also involved in fighting at Mud Springs three days earlier and 15 miles away. The distribution of artifacts makes it possible to identify Cavalry and Native American positions, assess the tactics of the two sides, and augment historical accounts of the fighting.


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